Avengers: Endgame review


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For many years, The Marvel Cinematic Universe, has made new films, introduced new characters, new stories, new enemies, new powers, new adventures, and new challenges. Everything began with Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), and Captain America (2011). All those films main heroes led to The Avengers (2012). In the beginning of The Avengers saga, they were successful in their mission of stopping Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his army of aliens from taking over humanity. After that, The Avengers went back to their old lives, and a new set of films came around. Our heroes that are focus of The Avengers had their own films again, and more Marvel characters were brought into the universe.

In 2013, there was Iron Man 3 and Thor Dark World (the suspense and chances of new enemies arising got even higher). There were times when our heroes were in moments where they felt they were at risk for failing to live up to the expectations of the people they protect. Hope and faith, however were restored. There was Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and the universe for The Avengers was building even more anticipation. The excitement for the universe got more exciting when a new group of heroes came forth into the universe and were introduced into the storyline in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). In this film, new humor, new heroes, and new back stories were revealed which fans knew would play a big role in the universe. That particular movie boosted the future hopes for The Avengers because it was obvious that more twists, action, and satirical humor were going to be involved in the next film for The Avengers.

In 2015, the team reunited in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The team comes together to stop the villainous Ultron from his evil plan of the earth going extinct. They accomplish their mission once again and they know there is still evil and enemies along the way. Also, the universe is still expanding. After Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant Man (2015) came into the picture. This film provided another sign that the new heroes were going to meet up with the Avengers. Then between the years of 2016 and 2017 many new Marvel movies with current and new heroes were released one after the other. The order of these films was Captain America: Civil War (2016), Doctor Strange (2016), Spiderman: Homecoming (2017), and Thor: Ragnarok (2017). The new films and heroes were linked to the characters of The Avengers and had connections to the giant enemies that The Avengers had upon them.

The year is 2018, and right before the third Avengers, there is the film Black Panther (also linked to the universe and The Avengers). Then the team reunites with Avengers: Infinity War. And in this film, the introduction shows that some of the heroes we love are experiencing tough times and that our new heroes are obviously in the picture. The fans believe at first that the massive number of heroes can take on the enemy, Thanos. The sad part of Infinity War is that in the battle sequence and the conclusion of the film things goes awry. I remember when the characters start to lose and missions keep failing.  It is then that the film came to an ending with dramatic music that made the fans feel devastated with the loss of hope for the universe. Faith was not lost though, there was a sign that they are going to return and have one more shot. And, in Ant Man and the Wasp (2018), there are some discrete clues to the next Avengers.


Now the year is 2019 and the one new superhero that comes into the picture is Captain Marvel. Months prior to Captain Marvel, fans already have seen the teasers and trailers for Avengers: Endgame. The fans already knew The Avengers were coming back to have one last chance to fight Thanos. I will say Avengers: Endgame is the monumental film that fans have waited for. The film is three hours long. The film’s length does not feel that way at all, because every scene and conversation is important. Our heroes come out of their shells slowly and start to rebuild their crafts and skills to protect their world. While many people remember the prior Avengers movies having some comedic moments, during Endgame the fans were deep in thought about what has happened in Infinity War and wonder what actions are going to be taken to potentially destroy Thanos. That is because Thanos has caused the heroes and the universe a tremendous amount of psychological problems and they feel they he is impossible to defeat. With the help of the universe that has expanded, our heroes come together for a fight that will hold viewers attention and hold the answer to what happens next for The Avengers.

While watching Endgame for the first time, I applauded at many moments. The quotes, the fight sequences, and the flashback moments to the other Marvel movies that were correlated to Endgame were all cause for excitement. The film is monumental!  No question…I had mixed emotions. However, most fans are going to experience different emotions once they watch Endgame. That is because everything started in 2008 with Iron Man. Now, eleven years have passed. I am not saying this means a conclusion, because the ending can mean a lot of things. However, with how big Marvel has grown, there will most certainly be other films we can look forward to.

Endgame needs to be seen! The film will leave viewers with many questions regarding what to expect in the future. I say watch and find out for yourselves. Also, I would recommend going to see this movie in IMAX. I saw it in IMAX and I felt like I was part of the universe with the humongous screen. The clear sounds and acoustics made me feel like I was truly embraced into the movie. Viewers will not regret watching Endgame in IMAX! Four stars!


Can You Ever Forgive Me? Review


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In Melissa McCarthy’s recent film, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, I thought I would not be able to take her seriously.  That is because in many of her movies, she plays someone that is silly or uses graphic dialogue for a ton of laughs. In Can You Ever Forgive Me? she is opposite from the characters she usually plays. Still flaky to a moderate extent, but also very serious, and not humorous. Even though I found Can You Ever Forgive Me? to be captivating, I understand why it did not get tons of attention in the Oscars. I felt the performance by McCarthy was the only real Oscar-worthy portion of the movie, but most of the film needed some improvements. Some of the moments seemed rush and other times tended to drag. However, this is a true story of a movie which made it noteworthy.

McCarthy is Lee Israel, a cranky, opinionated, talented, but very disliked author that publishers have no desire to work with. The film is set in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and in that timeframe, Israel struggles to get people to work with her because she is against writing about issues or events that are current. Israel does not want to improve or gear on what is current, so she turns to deception. With the help of her friend Jack Hock (played by Richard E. Grant), they begin a process of deceit by forging letters supposedly written by high-profile authors and try to sell them to bookstores and collectors. Both Israel and Hock are self-destructive, but do so with the intention of making themselves feel accomplished.

Both the acting by McCarthy and Grant are top-notch, but I felt that the film focused more on their friendship than the seriousness of the forgeries they were committing. There are a couple moments in the film where they forge letters and their schemes do become funny, but it seemed as though the funny portions of the movie were trying slightly too hard. I mean, I understand that in real life Israel and Hock were close, but the movie spent time on certain moments that did not add up to me. On the other hand, I remember that Israel loved her cat, and the film did a good job of having the cat play an important part in the movie as Israel’s friend. The film does an effective job proving that Israel was not popular because the director, Marielle Heller, shows Israel’s limited social life. Viewers will realize this as McCarthy’s character says, “I’m a 51-year-old who likes cats better than people.” McCarthy’s performance and snotty dialogue proves its point that Israel was someone that was very set in her own ways, and she did not care how her con- artist activities would impact her.

Given this film is an adaptation, I felt it was not that faithful to its portrayal of Israel. Before going to the movie, I was reading about her and wish that the film would have discussed her schooling or her life when she was younger.  It would have been interesting to learn more about Israel’s parents, Jack and Sylvie, and brother, Edward. I feel the film was basically like a painting to just show how negative Israel was and it did incorporate her good qualities that much.

The film’s cinematography had a tone for the film to be a dark topic. Every moment, scene, or location is just faded dark where there is no positivity to go around in Can You Ever Forgive Me? That approach, I believe, is another key element that led to this being an award-winning movie. Overall, it is not a heartfelt movie, but the technical elements behind the film, enthrall its viewers to feel more dramatic as the film gets deeper into conflict scenarios. The scenarios are mostly set during moments where negative conversation are occurring, and the lighting appears to look almost like a crime interrogation in a dark room.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? has some memorable moments, but also has ones that are easy to forget. That is why I had a hard time to trying to figure out why the movie had some Oscar nominations this year. When I think of this movie, I think the filming seemed rushed so it could get into festivals and compete for awards. Overall, I am not saying it is a bad movie, but just not as well done as it could have been. I am going to stick to a two-star rating review for this movie.

Hotel Mumbai Review


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Films that are adaptations and based on true events are often heavy. Hotel Mumbai takes the realism and the disturbing factors of the Taj Hotel attack in 2008 very seriously. This is Anthony Maras’ first full-length movie, and viewers can tell that he put effort into making Hotel Mumbai frightening, but enthralling. Fans may want to see this film because of its line-up of actors ranging from Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Anupam Kher, and Jason Isaacs. However, Hotel Mumbai is not a blockbuster thriller, it is extremely brutal and unsettling. In the first few minutes of the movie, viewers will realize that the film is going to be an experience of controversial elements that is very accurate to what happened in 2008.

Hotel Mumbai opens with the attackers getting to their locations for their attacks throughout Mumbai and then transitions to the workers and the guests of the Taj Hotel. One of the employees is Arjun (Patel), and his manager is Oberoi (Kher). The day for both Arjun and Oberoi starts as just a normal day at the hotel. This means there are regular guests and VIP guests checking in. The three main guests are husband and wife, David and Zahra (Hammer and Boniadi), and Vasili (Isaacs). All of them have paid for the VIP treatment at the Taj Hotel and are trying to live their lives to the fullest. That all changes, when Mumbai begins to experience some minor attacks which then become more serious. In the Taj, the employees assume that they are safe and secure, but they are not. Within a few hours, the attackers have the Taj Hotel as their main target and based on their religious beliefs, they believe that the Taj is the hotel to be attacked to feel they are faithful to their beliefs. As soon as the hotel turns into a danger zone, the film becomes hard to watch. The guests desperately want to escape and get to safety, but it is impossible because the attackers are in every corner of the hotel with all kinds of guns and ammunition. The intensity makes viewers wonder who is likely to survive. This leads Arjun, Oberoi, David, Zahra, and Vasili to take matters into their own hands to get to safety.

When I was watching Hotel Mumbai, I felt the most difficult scenes to watch were when the attackers freely roam the hotel after already killing many innocent people. That is because each time someone is shot or injured, the film is just gruesome. I felt like the realism was very similar to Paul Greengrass’ United 93 (2006). Maras has a directing eye quite like Greengrass’ because he is faithful to having Hotel Mumbai be as factual as possible.

The heavy tone for the movie is survival. When the main characters mention they have children or are on their way to having children, viewers will become eager to know if they will make it out alive. David and Arjun fight for their lives the hardest. That is because David is a father and his baby is in the hotel room with their nanny as the attacks are taking place in the hotel. Arjun’s wife is on her way to having their second child. David takes measures to get to his room as the attackers are all over the hotel. There is a moment where he is in the elevator and hides behind a food cart, and the attackers are just inches away from him. As soon as they realize he is hiding they begin to shoot at him, but he gets the elevator door to close and tries to quickly find another safe route to his room which proves to impossible. Whenever there are moments like this in the film when one of the characters want to get to safety from where they are hiding, the more intense Hotel Mumbai gets.

The violence is not the only emotional element in the movie.  The dialogue regarding the religious beliefs held by the attackers also has an emotional impact. The director uses these scenes to heighten the intensity of the peril. However, a few of the attackers do come to the realization that what they are doing is wrong, but at the same time they believe that based on their religion they need to finish what they started. What they do not realize is that they have forces bigger than them that can bring them down. Once that happens, they are out numbered and cannot compete with the special forces coming towards them.

Hotel Mumbai is worth the time, but only if viewers are ready to walk out with mixed emotions. The positive moments are rare in this movie. There is something devastating that happens in almost every scene throughout the film. And, as we know from history, the story does not end happily for a many of the characters. Some survive, some die, and some end up severely impacted by the injuries they sustain. I was captivated by the film’s realism. However, I will probably not be watching this movie again anytime soon.  Still, I give this movie three stars.

Treating cinema in many forms of art!

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